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At the end of every episode of this podcast, I say, “keep your helmet on and your eyes on the road.”
But how can you keep your helmet on if you’re unsure about whether it fits?
In this special 10-episode anniversary of the 30 Minute Motorcycling Podcast, we’re talking all about motorcycle helmets and how you can make sure you get one that fits you.
Tune in to learn:
- The main different types of helmets and their pros and cons
- The 3 most common helmet safety ratings
- How to tell if a helmet fits you – just by trying it on
- Why buying a used helmet is a BAD IDEA
Hello and welcome to 30 Minute Motorcycling, where you’ll learn about motorcycles and other two-wheelers in 30 minutes or less.
And for this special 10-episode anniversary of the podcast, we’re talking about helmets.
It goes without saying that you should never ride a motorcycle without a proper safety helmet.
But just as a reminder, I end every episode by saying “keep your helmet on.”
But with that said – what kind of helmets are available? which one should you pick and which ones should be avoided like a bad case of road rash? Which ratings should you check out for?
And why should you NEVER buy a used helmet?
In this episode, I’m going to teach you all you need to know about helmets – so without further ado – let’s dive into the types of helmets that are available.
First and foremost, there’s the half helmet, also known as the “brain bucket.” And the only reason I bring this up is that this helmet is really not worth getting – because it’s not going to protect your head if you end up in a crash.
It’s basically just an overly fancy bicycle helmet.
Next, we have the three-and-a-quarter helmet. This type of helmet was quite common in the 1960s and 1970s, and while it offers much better protection when compared to the half helmet, you’re still quite vulnerable in the sense that there’s no protection for your face and chin.
Since they often don’t come with visors, you also have to invest get a face shield, a pair of goggles or some other kind of eye protection to avoid getting bugs and dirt into your eyes.
So they might make for a decent moped or scooter helmet, but I wouldn’t recommend one as a motorcycle helmet.
Next, we get to the class of helmet that I think you should go for – the full-face helmet. As the name implies, the full face is completely covered up by a sturdy chin guard and your eyes are protected by a flip-down visor.
They can get a little bit uncomfortable at times, but in terms of protection, you can’t beat a full-face helmet.
Dirt bike helmet
Then there’s the dirt bike helmet. This one is characterized by a few things, most notably the sharp, pointy visor, which is used for blocking flying rocks and what dirt bike riders call “roost” – which is dirt kicked up from under the wheels.
If you’re planning to do a lot of off-road riding, then the dirt bike helmet is the obvious choice. But with that in mind, it can also be a good helmet for street riding (especially since they have a solid chin guard).
But you have to keep in mind that just like ¾ helmets, protective goggles have to be bought separately.
And then finally, you have what’s known as the modular helmet. And this is kind of a hybrid between the three and a quarter helmet and the full-face helmet.
Basically, you can flip open the chin guard, just like a visor on a full face – this gives you the comfort of the ¾ helmet.
But with that in mind, a modular helmet doesn’t offer as much protection as a full-face helmet.
And that’s because the chin guard is put on hinges. If these come off during a crash, then you have no protection whatsoever from your for your chin.
Okay, so that’s the those are the types of helmets. But there are also the ratings to take into account.
Many countries have their own ratings. Just to name a few, Sweden has the SIS rating, Australia and New Zealand have the AS/NZS rating, and Canada has the CSA rating.
In addition to these, there are 3 common helmet ratings worldwide, and those are the DOT, the ECE 22.05, and the Snell.
Which one should you go for? Let’s begin with the DOT rating.
This is the American Standard but since there are some concerns about flaws in the DOT testing procedure, I wouldn’t rely on a helmet with just a DOT rating.
Next up we have the ECE 22.05. This is by contrast much more reliable, since it follows the United Nations Convention on helmet security. If you buy a helmet with an ECE rating, you’re getting a very quality good quality helmet.
Of course, if you want nothing but the best in terms of protection, you should look for a helmet with a Snell rating.
This is the ultimate in helmet protection. If a helmet has a SNELL rating, it’s a staple of thorough testing and superb quality.
The best way to tell if a helmet is Snell certified is by going to their website which I’ll put a link to in the show notes.
Will It Fit?
Now that we’ve established what kind of helmets are available and what kind of ratings you should look out for. But how do you make sure it actually fits?
How do you make sure you get the right size? The easiest way is to put it on or try on a helmet at the store.
When you do, the helmet should be a snug fit – if it’s too loose, it might come off in a crash.
But your helmet shouldn’t feel too tight either – if you start to feel pressure against your forehead, then the helmet isn’t the right fit for you.
If on the other hand you try on a helmet and it feels a little tight at first, don’t worry too much about it. Inside each helmet, there’s a piece of styrofoam that will adapt to the rider’s head over time.
And it’s because of this reason why you should NEVER buy a used helmet. If the head shape of the previous rider is different from yours, the helmet will not fit you properly.
Also, it might have been damaged – and a damaged helmet is not reliable during a crash.
In short – that’s why you should never buy a used helmet.
And that concludes this special helmet episode of the 30 Minute Motorcycling Podcast.
But your helmet is just the start – there’s still more protective gear to talk about, so tune in next week to learn more about motorcycle jackets, gloves, and armor.
If you enjoyed listening, please remember to leave a review.
Until next time, keep your NOT USED helmet on and your eyes on the road. Bye!
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